07 August 2007

Lapu-Lapu Shrine in Mactan, Cebu

The Lapu-Lapu Shrine in Mactan, Cebu is testament to the Filipino courage and is monumental because it is the first ever massive opposition to foreign domination. Who would have thought that cannons and swords will be no match for the native's crude weaponry?

But while it is indeed such a heroic moment in the protection of the Mactan shores, one can't help but wonder about the underlying factors behind the event. Not far from Mactan is the island of Cebu where Rajah Humabon reigned supreme. He befriended the Spaniards and accepted Christianism. But in the end he encouraged the Spaniards to go to Mactan and overcome Lapu-Lapu, who was not exactly in speaking terms with Humabon. And so the battle ensued, resulting in the beheading of the famed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Poor Magellan caught in tribal politics.

Consider the irony. One day we were at Magellan's cross marvelling at the birth of Christianity in our country, and the next day we went to the Lapu-Lapu shrine to honor the bravery of those who thwarted the Spaniards.

I really think Philippine history ought to be taught in high school and college for the better appreciation of inquiring minds. Or is it already?

Be as it may, both events profoundly shaped our history. And there we were, walking the usual tourist route to appreciate our country's heritage.

The inscription reads:
Here on 27 April 1521, LapuLapu and his men repulsed the Spanish invaders, killing their leader Ferdinand Magellan. Thus LapuLapu became the first Filipino to have repelled European aggression.

Lapu-Lapu oversees the beach front of Mactan from invaders.

After the visit to the shrine, it's time for a quick "sutukil" (sugba, tula, kilaw), or put simply, three ways you can have your fish cooked. We ordered one big fish and had it "sutukilled".This is a very wide dining area overlooking the mangroves.

Still business as we had our lunch!

Additional interesting reading: University of the Philippines' "The Beauty Within Three Cities"
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